Basement Waterproofing Glossary – Top Terms You Need to Know

Every field of work has its own terminology, and the basement waterproofing industry is no different. Some terms we throw around have to do with the science behind why you have a wet basement or crawl space. Others have to do with waterproofing solutions.

We put this list together for you to refer to as needed. And if you ever need one of our inspectors or installation technicians to explain what they mean when they say something, please don’t hesitate to ask.The team here at Value Dry Waterproofing is committed to restoring and maintaining the safety and value of your home.

Basement Waterproofing

When we refer to basement waterproofing, we are talking about the act of waterproofing your basement from the interior. This may involve the installation of a French drain, sump pumps, and more.

Below Grade

This refers to the portion of your foundation which is below the soil level around the perimeter of your home or business. If you have a basement, all or a portion of it is below grade.

Black Mold

Black mold is a dangerous form of mold which thrives in dark, damp, and wet conditions.


Condensation is water droplets which form on your basement windows or even walls.

Discharge Line

This refers to the pipe which carries water from your sump pump up and out of your basement and to the outside.


Efflorescence on your foundation walls is a sure sign of a wet basement. It’s a crystal salt deposit left behind when water in the concrete, stone, or brick wall evaporates. It looks like a gray or white powdery substance on the floor or walls.

Egress Window

An egress window is a window in your basement, up at ground level, through which you could escape your basement if the stairwell was block or unavailable.


The foundation of your home or business is made up of the walls that go into the ground, and are typically constructed of concrete slabs or cinder blocks.

French Drain

An interior French drain system consists of a trench filled with gravel, and piping that directs the flow of groundwater underneath your home to your sump pump. Installing a French drain system can entail removing the existing concrete slab, putting in the system, and then pouring replacement concrete.

Ground Water

Ground water is the water is water that pushes up below ground through the soil and rocks. It becomes a problem when it reaches your basement floor or foundation walls and causes water seepage

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is the scientific term for the water pressure in the soil around your foundation. The more saturated the soil, the higher the hydrostatic pressure. That pressure pushes water into the concrete or cinder block walls in your basement, causing foundation seepage and endangering the structural integrity of your home.

Sump Pump

A sump pump is a pump that pumps the water from your French drain system up and out of your home. Your basement waterproofing system may have one ro two sump pumps.

Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is a plastic material placed over your outer wall to prevent moisture from infiltrating the insulation or dry wall. It may be used in crawl space encapsulation, as well.

Weep Holes

Weep holes in basement waterproofing are small holes drilled into the lower portion of your foundation walls as part of a French drain system. This allows any water in the walls to drain into the drainage system and flow to the sump pit. This greatly reduces the hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls.

There are a lot more basement waterproofing terms to know, but we’ve covered the basics. If you have a wet basement, you should fix the water seepage issues sooner rather than later. Call Value Dry at (888) 768-2583 or fill out the online form to schedule a free inspection.

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